A lot of my Net-Map sessions are about: “How do you achieve your goal (whether that is feeding children in Ghana or reorganizing a company in the US) and who will help / hinder you?” And I can see how mapping out all stakeholders and developing realistic strategies for their involvement can be hugely empowering.
But every once in a while I also see that the biggest impact of mapping out who influences the achievement of a specific goal is the realization: “There is very little I can do. This goal is too tall for me or I am just not in the right position to influence this very much.” In these cases mapping it all out and talking it through with an experienced facilitator gives the person permission to stop banging their head against a wall in an attempt of creating a break-through. Once you realize that your head is so much softer than that wall, you can take a step back, sit down, take a deep breath and have a look at your whole situation: Once you realize something is out of your reach, you can stop feeling like a failure for not achieving it.
Just recently I helped someone map out a long standing family conflict around the one black sheep in the family. She had a very strong desire to integrate her uncle in family festivities again and had put a lot of energy in trying to push for this. Mapping it all out, however, helped her see that as a junior family member who was not involved in the conflict, she had very little power to change deep rooted family dynamics. And that there wasn’t just one side to blame for the whole conflict. So while it was well within her power to continue maintaining a strong and loving connection to the uncle herself, she had to let go of the goal of drastically changing the way the rest of the family connected to him.
Have a look at those things that you fight for most passionately and with most headache involved. Are you banging your poor soft little head against a rough stone wall?